Explore your options in the creative economy

Higher Certificate in Performing Arts

1 year, Full Time | NQF LEVEL: 5 | SAQA ID: 111403

The Higher Certificates (HC) courses at AFDA are 1-year NQF level 5 programmes designed to lay a foundation of basic skills and learning to enter the creative economy at an assistant level, as well as enable further access to degree level education for first year in the BA or BCom degrees at AFDA. In addition to gaining insight into sectors of the creative economy, a Higher Certificate at AFDA will develop your capacity for learning through collaboration and an intrinsic practical understanding of disciplines and career possibilities in media and entertainment.


The Performing Arts is a growing medium that can fulfil purposes of entertainment and/or education. In the informal sector, in particular, community theatre is becoming an increasingly relevant tool to engage with audiences, however must be achievable on minimal resources. This means that having dual skills as performing artist while also understanding all aspects of theatre-making, enable more opportunity to create theatre productions for a variety of audiences and exhibition platforms themselves. As technology continues to advance, it might be the only area where human beings stay relevant is within the creative industries.

The 1-year Higher Certificate in Performing Arts is project-led, with a focus on learning through experience. Students are assessed on how they are able to analyse and apply the knowledge they have by performing a prescribed text, as well as running a theatre production including stage props, costumes, sound, lighting and production administration. This way of learning helps students translate their conceptual understanding into practical skills, as well as socialize their learning through collaboration with their team members. This includes learning Performing Arts techniques, practicum, arts management (hosting and technical management) as well as academic development.


We would like to invite you to meet with our Recruitment Team to discuss any questions you have on the course or studying at AFDA. Please contact the Marketing and Recruitment Department at the relevant campus to request a consultation booking.

International students can contact: international@afda.co.za


  • Identify movements, genres, styles and trends in Performing Arts in the South African context.
  • Develop and apply a range of acting skills, exercises and understanding through the use of the disciplines of creativity and improvisation.
  • Create theatre performances through storytelling and workshop processes
  • Use the voice as an efficient and effective instrument for performance.
  • Understand the essential elements of movement and apply these by developing the body as an effective instrument of communication.
  • Identify, describe and compare the different jobs and functions of all human resources involved in the planning and executing of a stage performance
  • Identify and describe different types of props and costumes and appropriate Health and Safety requirements
  • Describe and demonstrate the basic skills of Stage Lighting and Sound.
  • Explain and describe the development of character, role and message and the role of directing of a character to perform a specific role
  • Organise, co-ordinate and manage a performed event
  • Develop and apply critical thinking and writing skills
  • Communicate effectively and professionally on and off stage, in written and verbal format
  • Demonstrate office computer skills, as well as deeper insight on how to generate knowledge using computers.
  • Manage the resources required to effectively create, plan, manage and execute a performance
  • Develop a marketing plan for a performance and a personal branding strategy for yourself in the Performing arts.
  • National Senior Certificate (South African Grade 12 / Matric) with entry into a Diploma or Higher Certificate, or equivalent
  • Should you not have the above, you may be able to qualify to complete and pass the AFDA Entrance Exam. The AFDA Entrance Exam is a selection process approved by AFDA Senate for degree access. To give a candidate alternative access to degree, s/he can sit for the Entrance Exam and there must be record of it, the recommendation on the individual student from the registered psychometrist must be signed off by Senate or its subcommittee, as per AFDA Entrance Exam policy (in accordance with Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997) Amendment No 1317 in Government Gazette of 5 Dec 2008 number 31674 clause 31). Such access will apply only to AFDA’s programmes, its entrance exam is not valid to another university, and vice versa. Read more here (Entry Requirements) or contact your nearest AFDA campus to find out more.
  • For International Students, please visit the Entry Requirements page on the website or contact the International Marketing Office: +27 21 448 7600 / international@afda.co.za

Study this course at these campuses

Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban

Course type

Higher Certificates


1 year, Full time

2020 FEES request information apply now


  • To graduate with an accredited and registered degree or higher certificate

  • To be part of an internationally recognized education institution

  • To be empowered with competitive, professional and innovative skills

  • To become part of a network of highly talented artists, entrepreneurs & practitioners

  • To contribute to nation-building by growing the creative economy


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AFDA is registered as the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, and is a private higher education institution which offers higher certificate and degree programmes. It is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as a private higher education institution under the the Higher Education Act, 1997. Registration certificate no. 2001/HE07/012. Our programmes are accredited and we participate productively in the ongoing reaccreditation and quality assurance processes of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to ensure the quality of our programmes.
Disclaimer: AFDA reserves the rights to make changes or withdraw information or course offers without prior notice. Where possible, AFDA will endeavour to notify all persons and/or organisations affected as a result.